Struggling with Depression

I am taking a break from writing about fun stuff like failed relationships, RVing, reality TV and my hatred of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m going to discuss my life a bit and a one-time battle I had with what I figure is depression. I’m going to tell you what I believed triggered it, what happened while I was fully into it and what got me out of it.

I had a telephone discussion with an ex. Mistake because she blames me leaving her for the misery she finds herself in these days. In fact, she finds great pleasure in letting me know all the crap she’s been through is not a result of her refusal to work full time like us savages, but due to the lack of support I gave her. Ok. Normally that wouldn’t  bother me, but this session was different. She blamed me for her not having any children. She told me she wanted to have three children and now she’s too old to have any (she is).

That made me feel bad. Then I thought sticking around her essentially ended my family line. She didn’t say so, but getting pregnant would have been difficult for her. And the fact of the matter is if she truly wanted to have a kid, we would have. Bottom line, you generally start kids with intercourse, and we weren’t having it. At least not with each other.

Anyway, I thought more about it until I could barely do anything. I would go to work, come home and get right into bed. I would lay there and let these “waves of blue” crash into me. Only after talking to a friend did I realize what was happening. She suggested I go see a therapist, which I did not. I was barely functioning but hardly anyone knew.

What got me through it? My cats. I did not always like cats. In fact, I never wanted to be around them. My cats took care of me. One of our cats would curl up next to me while I was in the fetal position. He would sleep next to me and purr. Our other cat, the anti social one, soon became much more friendly. Before long, both of them would come upstairs, get next to me and purr while my life was going into the tank.

Thats why I’m going to cry like a baby when my cats go. I really really owe them.

What snapped me out? Nothing in particular except a desire to get out of the pity party. I did. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start doing something.

Not everyone can do that. Hardly anyone can do that. It’s very hard. Depression is a mo—- f—-r. It can hurt you badly.

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Coronavirus, cruising and Returning to the United States

I certainly told you all I had cruised to New Zealand from Australia, and returned to Australia. I did not tell you on the return from New Zealand, I emerged with what the cruise ship doctor diagnosed as The Flu. Sunday, I was fine. Monday, I sank into horribleness. Tuesday, I went to the cruise doctor, received medication and placed into quarantine. Tuesday night, my fever broke, Wednesday, I felt much improved and Thursday we docked at Melbourne. I was escorted off the ship and instead of being taken to the airport in buses, we were led to and transported by a cab.

Then we went into the airport as if nothing had happened.

Mind you, this is the same time the cornonavirus is beginning to emerge into global attention. I was very concerned when we arrived in Los Angeles, I would not be allowed back into the country. It was somewhat interesting when I mentioned this to a … person. They said I didn’t have coronavirus because they would know if I did. I felt that was interesting. I was in an area supposedly without coronavirus. I was also going to LAX, an airport where passengers have been recently detected with coronavirus, supposedly contracted via a Korean Air flight attendant. We had seen a Chinese 747, where it seemed every passenger had a mask on and they had isolated all the travelers to a different part of Customs. I don’t know how they would detect if anyone had the virus. This was prior to the U.S. government flying people who had been quarantined back to the States

I feel badly for the passengers who were isolated on board the cruise ships for two weeks. I was quarantined for only 60 hours. 14 days in that room was almost unfathomable. I spend a lot of time outside the cruise cabin when I’m well. Being captured in a cruise ship room, especially when you don’t feel sick, is on the verge of punishment. I can’t even imagine being in an inside room.

I have a different perspective than most on how the U.S. government is treating the persons with coronavirus. I not only live in San Antonio, I also have rights, as a military retiree, to go on Lackland Air Force Base. They are storing the people in quarantine in the Gateway Inn, over on the parade ground side. It’s actually pretty isolated over there, even if you’re going to BMT graduation, which is nearby. It’s fairly close to on base housing. The Air Force had a town hall to talk about what exactly they were going to do. According to a colleague who attended a town hall, there wasn’t much “towning.” Directive in nature. There was nothing the attendees could do, and that’s what was going to happen.

I wouldn’t want to be over there. I’ve stayed in the Gateway Inn. It’s not a hotel, it’s VAQ, for visiting airmen and junior officers. It’s not five star accommodations. I feel for them, because they won’t get any of the hospitality here. It’s a tough sled for two weeks at least, as this author notes in the Washington Post.

About midway through this last cruise, we joked with another couple about getting sick on a ship and getting to cruise again for free because of the horrible conditions. I had mentioned I wouldn’t like it but I would take the cruise if that happened. Now it’s not a joke. Coronavirus is much more lethal than the regular flu. From what I understand, it’s not even the worst flu offering that we could have. A Spanish flu type event would kill millions, with it picking off the healthiest people. This is the most recent iteration, but certainly not the worst. It appears to be spreading through communities now through unknown means.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better, and it’s going to spread to areas where it has not yet been detected. It’s much easier to catch than people want to believe.

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Delta One

I mentioned the long ride we had back from Australia on Virgin Australia. One of my colleagues suggested my avoidance of the upgrade offered for $AU999 per per person was misguided. He mentioned he had traveled on Delta to Europe (Houston to Rome) with his family. He decided to upgrade at a significant cost but the goal of his trip was to enjoy it, not get there as cheaply as possible. I then discovered a world I didn’t know about, even though it lurked just feet away. Here’s a YouTube video of a traveler using Delta One on a Transpacific flight:

My colleague suggested despite the price, it’s better VALUE than Economy fares. He stated you eat what you want, you drink what you want, you have an 18 inch monitor, you get to stow your carry on without issues and you are isolated from the rest of the cabin. He noted the increased fare included use of the lounges in the airport, making it by far less a pain in the ass than the average traveler. He stated he had traveled with a number of companions on the same trip. It took the others a day or two to recover from the trip while his immediate family was able to begin enjoying their vacation right away. He said that was the value he received by using the premium seating.

If it were just a few dollars, everyone would do it. Airlines make the rate very high so they can still make profits on the longer routes from business and elite travelers. My colleague suggested if a trip is going to take more than 6.5 hours, use it. It will improve the quality of your travel and set a better tone for whole trip overall. I noted I felt it was difficult to pay more for the air travel than a cruise. He noted it was your ability to get to your destination that makes vacationing worthwhile. I agreed and I will definitely consider it on my next long distance vacation.

Sorry, Virgin Australia. You gave me a better deal than I had realized.

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Going Longer than Long

It’s been a long time since I’ve been on the Blog.

There’s been a lot of stuff to write about since. I’ll get through it in a series of posts. I will discuss my recent vacation in Australia and cruise to New Zealand.

Yes, your friend BSP has been on the other side of the planet.

Never have the words “Going Long” been so appropriate. It takes roughly about 14 to 15 hours to make the trip.

Today, I am writing about Delta’s codeshare, Virgin Australia and their B777 service to/from Los Angeles & Australia. Virgin Australia is like a passenger friendly United. I can’t call it horrendous, even though it is. You see, Virgin Australia has great people. They are well trained, superb — the few of them (especially ground agents) they have. Their jets are superb. The one thing they do not do well – AT ALL – is service the passenger, unless they are business class. Southwest treats its regular passengers better on short haul flights than Virgin Australia does on the long haul even though Virgin Australia has them paying premium prices for their seat. They also appear to price their customers based on their geophysical location; for example Australians were purchasing the seat for much less than Americans were. In my case, I purchased an “economy” class ticket. I received part of an “economy” class seat. I say part, because the idiot in front of you is going to recline full length for 13.5 of your 14.5 hour seating. At least the in flight entertainment would be worthwhile, right? Maybe not. The in-seat entertainment may or may not work on your flight. On the L.A. – Sydney portion, the in seat entertainment touch screen occasionally worked. I didn’t know it was movable until the flight manager actually pulled on it so hard, she nearly fell down trying to move it. On the long leg, the Melbourne to Los Angeles portion the WIFI on the B777 jet didn’t work. At all.

Did you notice I said 14.5 hours while the screen says 13 right after takeoff? You do not fly for 14.5 hours. You wait, board the aircraft when called, wait for 300 others to do the same, prepare for takeoff, fly then do the same process in reverse. 14.5 hours, even with VA’s novel boarding technique.

On the cruise, we had reached Akaroa, the second stop of six. I had already began dreading the return flight back. That’s right, with 7 days left, I was already thinking of how to weasel out of getting on another of Virgin Australia’s punishment flights. I dreamt of finding a U.S. Air Force tanker aircraft, hopefully transitioning back to the U.S. after an exercise, avoiding getting squeezed into a miniature seat. I thought – dreamt – of leaving our traveling companions in Auckland as we took our bags off the ship and onto a jet worth our time. Alas it was not to be.

I thought I could sleep for at least half of the flight back from Melbourne. Then, we were offered a chance to upgrade to a different caste at check in. I thought “you only do this once, and it has to be better than cattle car”, so I told my wife we could do it. She went to the next screen and it was charging us $999 PER PASSENGER. At $60 per hour I quickly turned away. Little did I know we had forfeited the seats we had until we tried to continue with our check in. Then I realized it would be changed at the Australian dollar rate which would have been $1400. I would have upgraded at that rate. It ended up being a good thing because we experienced turbulence multiple times during the flight, including several hours of it before landing. Yes several (2-3) hours. Not many people could have slept through that, especially me who has trouble sleeping while in motion anyway.

Virgin does have some novel concepts. They board passengers from the rear of a jet earlier in the process, which expedites the procedure a great deal. I know I’m the only person who likes this, but at their domestic Sydney terminal, they make you walk outside to get to the back of the aircraft at their domestic terminal. I didn’t mention their domestic service. Their domestic service is like Southwest to some degree. They have to compete there. International air service is where they really pile up the cash because you can’t exactly get in the car and drive to Singapore.

I understand Virgin is opening up a cruise line. No doubt the service is impeccable. No doubt the fares might appear to be better. No doubt it’s going to be terrible experience wise except for people who are used to suck. Maybe the North Korean cruise line. “Here we’ll put you in a cabin that you’ll love. Except when you’re in it, of course but who cruises to be in their cabin, huh?” The first time you’ll notice is when you’re having sex, your head is against the headboard and your feet are on the opposing wall.

LOL. Too late for an upgrade at that point.

I’m sure Australians love Virgin Australia. I know this because I was there during the bush fires. Australians are great people. Australians love the ability to wake up. They put up with a lot of bs and act though it’s nothing. The epitome of “stiff upper lip.” They have no expectations of great service at any time. It’s like their morale at Gallipoli. As long as you could stand up for roll call, you’re good.

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Washing your Vehicle

I have recently become enamored with a different method of washing my vehicles. Before, I would fill a bucket full of water, put some car wash soap in it, rinse the car off then soap the vehicle. I would then rinse the vehicle again and dry it. Generally, this wash would last about a week.

No more. Thanks to YouTube, I’ve received some sound advice on washing my vehicles.

The key is using a mechanical device, such as a pressure washer to eliminate work. As a result, I can wash my vehicles in as little as 30 minutes. Additionally, I can do a much more thorough job as long as I have the right equipment, like a wand or a microfiber mop.

I use a tool called a foam cannon. The foam cannon and the trigger were expensive as hell. I purchased a foam generating wash via Amazon from Chemical Guys and used it with my tools.

I test all the stuff I buy with my Red Car. Red car is a 1999 Chevrolet Cavalier. The paint is coming off Red Car, and it has a cracking dashboard. Red Car is as technologically up to date a vehicle as I have. It is the test bed. Red car has a wireless backup camera, Bluetooth, Sirius, and a navigation system. I wash Red Car with all the great products I get before I use them on my Ram 2500.

After I did the first of these washes, Red Car started to appear as if it had been restored somewhat. As I’ve washed the vehicle more, I tried different soaps. I’m a user of Aerospace 303 products (I found out about Aerospace 303 tire products via the RV experience). I had been using Griot’s Garage car wash but I stopped when I heard their low end products weren’t so great.

I also use an optical enhancer called C2v3 by Gtechniq. That stuff is spectacular. It had Red Car actually looking like someone cared about that car before I owned it. I use it on all my vehicles, because it also repels dirt and water. While C2v3 is a great product, I tried another Aerospace 303 product that’s essentially doing the job C2v3 does, except it does not require you touching the vehicle. It’s called Touchless Sealant. You wash it off. The End. After I dried the vehicle, it looked pretty decent. The funny part for me is the fact people can tell it’s a PoS, but someone’s clearly been working to make the car look good. A young woman stared at the car this afternoon, trying to figure it out I suppose. The good paint was glowing, the not so good paint still gleamed. I also used 303 tire balm on the tires so it was obviously cleaned up. 303 tire balm is kind of unique where it won’t make the tires glow but it will make them look good for up to a month while conditioning the tire safely.

I still use RainX for my windows, and microfiber towels to dry the vehicles instead of the blower. I found my blower wasn’t as effective as direct drying.

I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ve always preferred washing my own vehicles but recently I got lazy and paid a local car wash to do the vehicles, especially my truck. It just took so much time and it’s so hot in San Antonio, it just bakes the life out of you. If you do it early in the morning, you can make it happen before the weather gets out of hand.

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The Interstate Highway System

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned the Interstate Highway System. When I joined the military, I think I had been on three Interstates: I-75, I-85 and the only one that truly mattered, I-95.

That’s changed. I’ve been stationed on both coasts. As of today, I’ve driven cross country (Eastern to Pacific time zones) at least 10 times, and from border to border three times. You have to use the Interstate system to get anywhere relatively quickly. Because there are safety standards for interstate highways, it makes it an easy decision to RV on those roads.

I-80 at I-95, Hackensack N.J.

As you know, the major interstates are denoted with an end number of zero (east – west) or five (north – south). I’ve been on all of them, and not for just a little bit. I’ve traveled all of Interstate 10, Interstate 20, and Interstate 85. Of the zero and five interstates, I’ve traveled 400 miles on all of them except Interstate 30.

I-30, Texarkana TX

I-30 isn’t really a major Interstate, it runs from Little Rock to Dallas. Texas messes up the Interstate system, something else dumb they did. There’s an Interstate 2 and an Interstate 14 in Texas, minor routes but probably something Texas did to squeeze the Federal government for money. I’ve traveled most of I-30 anyway, from north of Little Rock to just east of Dallas.

Most of the interstates aren’t very interesting visually speaking but there are some very necessary routes that make national leisure travel — and more importantly, interstate commerce — a reality. These are the diagonal routes leading from one region of the country to another. One is Interstate 85, which brings you to/from the Deep South from/to the Northeast. Interstate 71 moves travelers from the Midwest to the top of the South. Interstate 59 brings travelers from the Gulf Coast to the top of the South. Interstate 15 serves a similar purpose in the West. These cross over regions and tend to cut substantial amounts of time off long trips.

There are routes existing for the purpose of connecting a solitary city with the rest of the United States. Interstate 25 exists to connect Denver with Canada and Mexico. Denver is a metropolis distant from any other major city in the country. I’ve traveled most of I-25. Here’s a fact: I-25 north of Casper WY to I-90 in Buffalo is the Empty Quarter, the Rub al Khali of the United States. I truly feared an RV flat tire or breakdown in that region, because there would have been no real help for hours. If you’re on I-40 east of Barstow, at least there is regular traffic. Another car might not come along for 20 minutes on I-25, and who knows who is in it?

Interstates are a lot less forbidding since the advent of the cell phone. After I joined the service, I did my first cross country trip almost completely at night, from Merced CA to Washington D.C. via Highway 99, I-80, I-74 to I-70. I was driving across central Nevada at 1 am and I stopped at a rest area literally in the middle of nowhere for a break. I fell asleep, then I woke up. Charles Manson was staring at me sleeping in my car. I started screaming, started the car and drove off. Next rest area, 44 miles. I was still tired. Years later, I thought how making that trip alone and unarmed was so dumb. Now, Charlie would have seen me swinging my full size 1911 around before HE went screaming off into the night. Once I stopped at a rest area in Southern California along the I-10 east of High Desert at you guessed it, 2 AM. I meant to avoid LA traffic. I’m at a urinal when I find out someone is masturbating in the stall next to me. I’m trying to cut off the stream to move away while they continue, and end up peeing a bit on my shoes. Oh well. In those days, I considered myself invulnerable. Now, not so much. Unless I’m in a legit desert or there’s no phone reception, I’m generally within minutes of a state trooper. Cops typically frequent rest areas.

I don’t do extra long trips anymore. By extra long, I mean 1,000 miles or more. That’s literally more than a third of the country. Sleep is a valuable thing. While I will tow the RV up to 540 miles in a day, that’s nothing compared to the long haul trips I’d make in my car. I drove over 1100 miles in a day, from east of Oklahoma City to Phoenix via Flagstaff. I drove from Phoenix to San Antonio, another thousand + miler. San Antonio to Atlanta is just short of a thousand miles and I’ve done that a number of times. Anything under a thousand was no big deal. Well, not quite. One that was a big deal was finding out my girl was at San Antonio for a medical evaluation, while I was in Biloxi MS (Keesler AFB). I hadn’t seen her in a while. I drove 600 miles in 8 hours via Houston; it was well worth the trip. Back when I was stationed at Warner Robins, I drove from D.C. to Fayetteville N.C. (Fort Bragg) while I was sick with the flu.

I only do daylight RV towing because setting up after dark is no fun. Actually it’s not a good thing to tow in the dark because you might not see something you’d want to see and someone might not see you either.

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Clear Source water filters

Many of you use water filters with your RVs. Typically you go camping and you aren’t sure of the water quality at the camping location. Most campers I see use those Camco filters from WalMart. I’ve viewed the numbers on those filters and while they are better than nothing, they are at the low end of filtering

Big Truck Big RV did a review on the Clear Source water filter. This is a system reviewed by Ray of LoveYourRV.

I think the Clear Source is a great system, based on this review and Ray’s review. I’m not going to purchase one, because it’s expensive. Now I know what you’re going to say — you have a $xxxxx truck, don’t skimp on items as important as your water. I happen to have a Hydro Life system. It’s a single filter, with another expensive (now $42.50!) filter that I believe does a great job removing particulates from the water. The water is drinkable but we don’t — now we get a 5 gallon Sparkletts water bottle to carry with us wherever we go. Still, the water comes in contact with our skin and we’d rather have filtered water than not. BSP doesn’t believe spending $300 on a water system constitutes value over lower end filter essentially doing the same thing. Some RO systems cost less.

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RV trip to Austin

This past weekend, we went on an RV trip to Austin, TX. While many of you don’t know this, I used to live in the Bay Area of California.

Austin reminds me somewhat of the Bay Area of California. I say somewhat because it’s still infected by Texas, after all the Governor of Texas lives there while in office. But Austin is a thriving metropolis, one based on high technology and medicine, Dell is located in Austin. There are numerous start-ups there as well. Austin is also the home of The University of Texas. While the University of Texas is well known in higher education, the state of Texas is not. The rest of Texas considers Austin “weird” because there’s a lot of non-conformal and independent thought there. In reality, Austin is about a hundred years ahead of the rest of Texas, a fact the rest of the state hates. Going back to San Antonio is like going to the dark side of the Moon. We’ve been to Austin before so we didn’t do much touring. Besides it was really hot this past weekend, so we decided to hang out at the trailer.

We stayed in a Sun RV Resorts RV Park, the Hacienda, located near Lake Travis. It’s a nice park but like most RV parks is becoming more of an RV residency. Transients – tourists like myself are now more the exception. It is becoming harder and harder to find RV parks for weekend trips. If you don’t believe this, ask any of the numerous RV clubs. A rally is next to impossible to book, mostly because RV parks don’t have the space. Clubs are now having to book rallies years in advance because the parks will cancel them unless they have a contract with the club. Corporations are taking over RV parks. One RV park near here is having problems with the owner fending off offers from the Jellystone Park chain. Jellystone caters to young families, the high growth segment of RV ownership. Young families are moving to the RV as a method of early home ownership. It keeps them from getting stuck living in one location and having to commit to a 30-year mortgage. It’s a bit daring but kids who have known nothing else are fine with it. If you don’t like living in one, you can sell your RV and move someplace else. Then there are the membership only RV parks. You pay a fee to join and you stay for a couple of weeks at a time. In my opinion, these membership clubs are more for full time RVers who have plenty of time to figure out where they’ll go next.

Our trip went well from the RV standpoint. The water pump appears to have worked, we saw no obvious leaks. I turned the water pump on for a short period and it hardly made a sound. The RV behaved well overall. The temperature was over 100 degrees, and the air conditioner ran almost the entire time. I am going to have to install a baffle over the air conditioner to reduce the noise. One of the small issues we have is with the water heater. We just had it cleaned two weeks ago so it should have worked. In electric mode, it barely heated the water to lukewarm so we used our LP. That does the trick, even though we should not have had to use our own gas. I’ll have to look into that.

Austin is an eclectic city, so it has an eclectic food scene. For us, we had dinner at a local restaurant, the Roaring Fork. If you’re ever there, try the green Chile Mac & Cheese. I had the center cut filet mignon, you don’t need a knife. Everything I’ve tried at Roaring Fork has been excellent, including the cocktails. There was a Roaring Fork in north San Antonio but it closed. It appeared to be doing quite well so we’ll never know.

Austin is one of those trips we can take over a weekend, so we’ll be back … but not too often. Actually making the trip in an RV is horrendous. The traffic borders on the horribleness of Washington D.C. For bittersportspills, D.C. traffic is the measuring stick for awful. Not only are the major highways in the D.C. area jammed, the side streets are as well. There are simply too many people and drivers in the D.C. area. Top that off with a mix of aggressive drivers from other parts of the nation (like Texas, the capital of aggressive drivers) and you’ll get a terrible driving experience. Austin, unlike D.C. has no real bypass highway like virtually every major metropolitan area in the U.S. Texans has some aversion to civic planning, something the political class here refers to as “freedom.” Yeah, freedom to be stuck in horrendous I-35 traffic daily, and perpetually under construction highways leading to nowhere. Those so-called “freedom” lovers should be sentenced to I-35 N at U.S. 290 forever.

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Water Pump

If you have a not as expensive RV like we do, you know the water pump is louder than hell. I’ve replaced the Flojet model in our RV with a Shurflo 4088 model.

It was not very hard to remove the old Flojet. I took off the clamps, unscrewed it from the location next to the master bedroom and removed the wires. It took about 5 minutes to remove the pump and 20 minutes to wipe up the water spewing everywhere. Never take off the pressure side first.

My idea on installing the Shurflo was to install a screen filter on the input end, but the cabinet was simply too small. Actually it fit but the installed water hoses were so short I would have had to seriously modify them for the item to come close to fitting. So I removed the screen filter and then it fit well enough to install.

I’ve not yet tried it, so I can’t report on the new water pump’s performance. I suspect it will be much quieter than the old water pump.

Speaking of the old water pump, it will be put to good use. I saw a YouTube video where someone used a water pump connected to a 6 volt battery to pull water from a plastic water tank. The object is to refill an RVs fresh water tank while boondocking. I’ll let you all know how that works out.

In the meantime, I’m strongly considering videos of my upgrades. I’d like to show how non-difficult most of the upgrades I’ve made, really are.

The key upgrade on the whole vehicle is the bed. Most RV stock beds are crap. We sleep on a Tempur-Pedic bed at home, so I wanted to get a memory foam mattress. I bought one from WalMart for about $300. It fit perfectly but it’s much heavier than the stock mattress. Then again, it’s a godsend on long trips, like the one to Yellowstone.i was thankful I had purchased that mattress on that trip.

If there’s a second important upgrade I made, its LED lighting. The incandescent lights were power hungry, hot and didn’t provide as much light. I swapped those out early in our RV experiment. Other upgrades were the motion LED pucks in cabinets, mounting a second TV in the bedroom and placing an Amazon fire stick on the device. I also use a Weber portable gas grill with the vehicle. I attach a low pressure hose to the RV gas line and cook using my RV propane tanks.

The last mention is of the tires. I was not too pleased with the tires because the salesman insisted I ditch my hardly worn tires for safety reasons. If he had actually told me the truth – the old tires couldn’t handle as heavy a load and the new ones were better rated, I would have bought them anyway.

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Hail the Hail

As persons living here in Texas know, we are having our usual bout of springtime bad weather. Severe storms are crossing the state on a near daily basis. Thunderstorms, heavy rain and even tornadoes have touched down in the state, as well as the Midwest and Southeast.

Another severe weather form has also emerged from the skies: Hail. Texas has seen up to 2 inch diameter hail in the last few weeks. Hail is as damaging a form of weather as any other. Hail causes insurance companies heavy losses. For instance, bad weather during a hurricane can cause flooding and water damage. Hail destroys everything underneath it. We had a nighttime hailstorm here a couple of years ago. It ruined my roof, our fences and damaged two of our cars to the point they required $9,000 in repairs. Yes, that’s without broken glass.

We sought to place our RV in a covered storage yard. That expenditure doubled the amount we paid but gave us at least some reassurance the vehicle would be at least partially defended from the weather.

It also makes us much less likely to go out on a trip.

Part time RVing is somewhat dependent on good driving and touring weather. Who really wants to go out and spend a weekend in a rainstorm? Consider the fact that a hailstorm could ruin your coach in minutes. I have a colleague who has had his RV pelted with hailstones 3 times in a year. He insists the roof is still good. Another colleague had his RV bombarded with hail, suffering near complete destruction. I recommended he part the vehicle out and scrap it.

It’s very hard picking a time to go out because the storms could return at any time. They can strike anywhere so we have to keep track of weather forecasts.

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Once Again, the Black Tank

Early in March, I decided to take the toilet wand and literally rinse out the black tank in my RV. To properly do this, I brought it by my house, filled a 5 gallon container with hot water, dumped some Dawn, 20 Mule Team borax and Calvin into the black tank. Then I took the wand, stuck it down the toilet and rinsed.

Eventually it got to full. I meant to empty the tank but it started to rain. I took the trailer back to storage so I thought I’d empty the thing the next day. I put some Happy Campers in there, so it would be fine if I let it go a few days.

Then I got called into work. I worked for 12 days straight. Today, two weeks after my shift work ended, and four weeks after I rinsed the tank out hard, I remembered I had filled it. Oh boy.

The black tank has not stunk up the trailer. We have a 360 degree vent, and the toilet had been cleaned out anyway. I had cleaned it prior to this soak, and Happy Campers is a proven product.

I am interested to see what comes out. I have a feeling it’s going to be gross, but not too gross. I suspect the tank will be less dirty than it’s been in a long time. The materials I had put in the tank were nothing more than you would use in the laundry.

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